Sweet Story of Forgiveness – Book Review

   

   Sweet Sanctuary by Shelia Walsh and Cindy Coloma is an amazing story of forgiveness and giving everything to God. The story follows Wren, and the struggles she faces that came about after a family reunion went terribly wrong and left her family just barely on speaking terms. Wren struggles with having to plan a party that will bring all the siblings together for the first time in years while trying to figure out what is best to do for her 10 year old son she is raising on her own.

Walsh and Coloma capture you from the beginning with each character and their stories. As Wren tries to avoid the upcoming party and family problems she is positive she will encounter and working to a promotion amidst budget cuts she realizes that she cannot do it alone, and that just maybe if she trusts God fully, He will make take care of everything, in ways that Wren would never imagine.

This was the first time reading a Sheila Walsh book and I am in love with her writing and characters, before reading this I was just not in the mood to read it, but once I started I could not put this book down, I love the characters and the setting of the store and find it easy to relate to what Wren is going through. This book is truly captivating.

I received this book complimentary from the booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed are solely my own.

-Elle

Book 4: Soul Harvest – Book Review

Soul Harvest, Left Behind Series #4 (rpkgd)   -              By: Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins      Soul Harvest By: Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins    

    In the fourth book of the Left Behind series, the tribulation force has lost some of its numbers and also adds others to their rankings. After an earthquake ¼ of the population is gone taking with it members of the tribulation force, Amanda and Chloe are both missing and the home base for the tribulation force has been destroyed. Buck goes searching for a pregnant Chloe and Rayford goes on a deep sea dive to find the body of his wife Amanda White

     So many things are happening to the tribulation force throughout this book, Tsion Ben-Judah has made the decision to return to Israel in order to teach the 144,000 witnesses. Hattie Burham is found pregnant and in an abortion clinic. They have also learned of a plot that Carpethia plans to kill Rayford and Hattie. Since the earthquake the world has gone crazy, television is full of nudity, torture, and sexuality. The tribulation force has also noticed that believers have a mark on their foreheads that only other believers can see, which helps in recruiting new members to the tribulation force.

      Another Left Behind book that will keep you glued to your seats, this book is action packed and twists and turns come at every corner!

-Elle

Craving Grace by Lisa Velthouse – Book Review

Craving Grace: A Story of Faith, Failure, and My Search for Sweetness  -              By: Lisa Velthouse      Craving Grace By: Lisa Velthouse

     Craving Grace by Lisa Velthouse was not what I expected. I am not sure what I was expecting, it may have been from my oversite on the cover of not seeing the fact this book was a memoir.  The writing in this book is captivating and pulls you into the story, many of these instances any of us can relate too.  Admittedly I struggle to get into this book in the beginning, where I wanted more information I was not finding it, and in other cases I did not want to continue but the more I read the more I wanted to know about how the fast turned out. By the end of the book I did not want to finish the story. Velthouse brings an insight on topics I had never considered, and being one of those people that always tries to follow the rules I easily related to her. By the last two chapters I did not want the story to end, and when it did I craved to know more, I hope for another book to come about the communal fasting of the members on the farm and to hear from not just Velthouse but also those accompanying her on the fast and their experiences.

     Craving Grace is exactly what the cover claims ‘a story of faith, failure, and my search for sweetness’ many times we forget to look at the sweetness of grace that God has granted us. Craving Grace has opened up that idea and pushed me to wanting to understand that grace more fully and instead of attempting to always do what I am supposed to but to remember the grace that God gives us. This book has caused me to attempt my own journey in fasting from sweets and searching
for that grace and I hope this does the same for others that will join me on my own journey of craving grace. 

-Elle

“I’ll be waiting, anticipating. All that I aim form what I was made for.”

“I’ll be waiting, anticipating, All that I aim for, what I was made for, With every heartbeat all of my blood bleeds running inside me, I’m looking for you”

-Switchfoot, Restless

     What are we all waiting for? I feel that everyday I am waiting for something, the next job offer, the next weekend, the next concert, the next month. I sit around and wait for tomorrow, for change to come, to finally enter into that new season that I have been craving. To git the point where things ‘ger better’ where ‘life starts to make sense’ for the day that I know what I am supposed to do.

     I sit here and wait and wait some more, convincing myself that God has picked a day, just one day where everything changes, where I wake up in the morning and God has decided to say

    “This is the day everything changes. This is the day you will figure out your calling, you will get a job offer in line with that calling, and life is going to make sense”

    (If I could I would insert a sound affect along the lines of the odd scratching record plater sound that happens in movies when the room is pumping with music and than suddenly goes silent because of what someone said)

    The more I think about it, the more I realize I can’t be the only one that thinks this way (Please say I am not the only one!) Where we think change happens all at once in this magic moment of understanding.

    As I look back on my past few months, where I have sat waiting for change to take place, I realize change has been happening and I just have not been paying attention…or taking it forgranted. I’m not the same person I was a month ago. I’ve been brushing off the changes in my life by pushing them to the side, telling myself ‘this isn’t the change you are waiting for.’

    For how many times I’ve asked for change, for the next thing to happen, I never took the time to notice change is happening, that I have gone through the baby steps that will lead me to the next adventure.

     Why am I still waiting? Why do I wait for tomorrow for things to change? Instead of waiting for things to start tomorrow (or the next day or the next) I can start developing relationships, meeting more people, networking, praying, reading my Bible more, for all the things I pray and wait for, I can be praying and taking action. I can be working towards the things I want rather than sitting around staring at the clock waiting for them to happen.

-Elle

“You rescued me, You’re changing me. Jesus, take everything. I can’t live my whole life wasting all the grace that I know You’ve given. ‘Cause You made me for so much more than sitting on the sidelines. I don’t want to look back and wonder if good enough could have been better. Everyday’s a day that’s borrowed so why am I waiting for tomorrow.

I’m making this my moment now, to grab the hand that’s reaching down to save me. To save me.”

-Mandisa, Waiting for tomorrow

When I stand before God at the end of my life…I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say…I used everything you gave me.

Erma Bombeck

I Don’t Want to be Nice.

I Don’t Want to be Nice.

     Don’t worry, I don’t want to be mean either. Nice is a word used for puppies and pleasantries. Nice is a word you use when you don’t know what else to say. For a cool spring day, to describe some one you just met. Nice is not a way to show love.

     Dictionary.com defines nice as ‘agreeable, delightful, pleasing, amiable, kind, satisfactory’

     We all have our ways of showing love, some of us show it through our compassion, through our service, through giving it our all. Some of us show love in our patience, in our understanding or through our determination.

     A few days ago while texting with a friend about this and how each of us shows love he said about me that 

     ”How you treat others and being nice…that’s love”

     I know this was not meant as a slight but the more I read and thought about it the more I realized I did not want to be nice.

     Being nice doesn’t cause change, being nice and agreeable does not show love. Being nice does not show who Jesus is. Anyone can be nice, and everyone is nice at some point in their life. I’m tired of sitting back and making pleasantries, trying not to bruise someones ego. Trying not to offend someones beliefs or lack thereof. That’s what nice people do, they try to please all parties involved without offending someone in the process.

     Being nice doesn’t make you stick out from the crowd, and I’m not one to want attention but when people see me I want them to see Jesus. I want people to see me and know there is something different. I want people to see the light of Jesus shining through everything I do. I don’t want people to see me and think ‘Elle is a nice girl who treats others well.’ 

     It’s time for us to stop being nice and to stand up and take a stand for our God. It’s time to stand on top of the mountains and shout that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior! Why is it that we will stick up for our friends, but when it comes to our faith we will skirt around the subject and try to be ‘nice’ and ‘agreeable’ with everyone.

     I don’t want to be agreeable, I want to be revolutionary. I don’t want to be nice, I want to make a difference.

It’s time for me to let Jesus use me, for Him to shine through me. I am done being nice.

-Elle

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:16 

I want to love God with a ‘passionate canoe-eating’ kind of love!

     What is love? What do we really understand about love? If you read my previous post you probably know where this is all coming from. Did you take the time to read 1 John 4? Stop what you are doing and read it. Yes, now. Take the time soak it into your brain.

     Does that not just rock your world?? Just the smallest glimmer of what love is.  Our culture has allowed us to romanticize love, to overuse love and to forget about what it really means, or just maybe we never actually thought about what love is.

     Did you ever realize we use the same word to express our feelings about ice cream to express our love for God, the Most Holy God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and we use the same word when talking about ice cream!? Is it just me or is that completely insane!? Are you seeing the problem here?

    Some of us even throw around this word love and let it mean more when talking about ice cream or a puppy than our Creator! Are we so crazy to believe that one little word can consume the whole entire definition of what love is!? A word that we cannot even fully understand what it means.

God is love.

     Can we understand this? Can we understand that love is not just a feeling; it’s not an emotion it is part of WHO God is?

     There is a chapter in the book ‘Praying for your Future Husband’ that really just stuck out to me while thinking about love. The Hawaiian language has over 70 words for wind! Wind! And we have only 1 for love!  One of these 70 words is used to describe a wind that is a ‘canoe-eating’ wind. Now can you imagine if we had 70 different words to describe love, and each of them still described part of who God is!

     Our view of love has become so narrow. So scewed by the media and influences around us, we throw around the word love like it is nothing. We talk about some day ‘falling in love.’  The problem with falling is that falling is something I do on accident (a lot) I never mean to fall, and if you can fall into love doesn’t that mean you can also fall out of love?

     I don’t want my love for my Savior, my love for the God of the Universe, for my Creator to be an accident. I want to have an intentional love.  A love that crys out to God every second, that yearns for His presence! I want to love God with a ‘passionate canoe-eating’ kind of love! I want to chase after God with all that I am, with every fiber of my being!

     I want to understand what it means to love the way Jesus loves.

-Elle

‘You have my heart’

 I love the way You hold me, by my side You’ll always be You take each and every day, make it special in some way” – Jamie Grace, Hold Me

     I have never been in love, but someday I want to be. I know that someday it will happen, but as I sit here and think about it, what do I really know about what love means/is?

     I want to be in love. Real love. The love that cannot be broken, that no matter what happens it will always sustain. A love so deep no one else can come close to touching it.

    Want to know a secret?

     I already know who my first and true love is. He knows too.
     My first and always-will-be love is also my Savior. My King. My Jesus.

     The truth is that I do not understand the type of love that Jesus talks about, the type of love He lived. I want to undertstand and have and live this love deep-down in my core. I want people that have never met me to look at me and see the love of Jesus. I do not want my friends to look at me and see Elle, I want them to see the light of Christ shining through me at every moment.

     What is love?

  

    “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved  us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

                                                                   -1 John 4:7-12 (Emphasis mine)

(Read 1 John 4. Take your time. Breath it in. This is a lot, but it is worth it!)

Did you catch that?

God is love.

God is love, so for us to understand love, we must know God.

     You know that feeling when you have a crush on someone? That time when you cannot stop thinking about him, cannot wait to see and talk to him, make excuses to bump into and hang out with him?

     That’s what I want and I never want to get over it. I want to have a never ending crush on Jesus, only instead of just being a crush I want it to build into an incredible relationship! I want to see Jesus and think about Him, and talk to Him all the time! I want to yearn and long to be in His presence!      

     I want Jesus to have my heart. Fully and completely. 

     Jesus I give you my heart.

     I understand that sometimes my heart will be bruised, broken and hurting but sometimes it is all I have to give.

     And the best part?

     Jesus takes it anyway.

    Jesus YOU have my heart.

-Elle

Nicolae – Book Review

Nicolae, Left Behind Series #3, Paperback   -              By: Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins      Nicolae By: Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

The third installment of the Left Behind Series will have you on your toes. This book takes off where book 2 (The Tribulation Force) ends. Nicolae Carpethia, the antichrist has come to power and has begun bombing the major cities, includinig where the tribulation force meets. Through these bombing the tribulation force loses some of their team and others have become injured.

During the funeral of one of their own the service lays out what will be happening next in the world, and the prediction of a worldwide earthquake, which comes while the tribulation force is separted by continents. Through the earthquake and meteors falling from the skies, a quarter of the worlds population does not survive.

Through this time Buck is traveling back and forth to Jerusalem and Egypt to find his friend Tsion Ben-Judah, who has been accused of murdering his family. Buck and Tsion, both international fugitives are fighting to get back to the United States without being caught. But now Chloe and Amanda are missing, will the tribulation force be put back together? Will Chloe and Amanda be found alive? This is definitley a series to continue following.

-Elle